GLOBAL CONSERVATION SIGNIFICANCE OF CHOTIARI WETLANDS COMPLEX, SANGAHR, SINDH, PAKISTAN
M. Rais, M. Z. Khan*, S. A. Ghalib*, R. Nawaz**, G. Akbar**, S. L. Islam** and A. Begum*
Department of Wildlife Management, PMAS Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Pakistan
*Department of Zoology (Wildlife and fisheries), University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan.
**World Wide Fund for nature, Pakistan.
Corresponding author e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The global conservation significance of Chotiari Wetlands Complex (District Sanghar, Sindh, Pakistan) is reviewed with addition of some new field data on water birds. The complex provides refuge to at least 12 globally threatened (03 Critically Endangered; 01 Endangered; 08 Vulnerable) and eight near threatened species. The complex also hosts a variety of species and sub-species endemic to the country and South Asia, such as smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata sindica), Sindh babbler (Chrysomma altirostre scindicum), Pakistan’s brilliant agama(Trapelus agilis pakistanensis), Yellow-tailed sand gecko (Crossobamon orientalis), Kutch spotted ground gecko (Cyrtopodion kachhense kachhense), Sindh awl-headed sand snake (Lytorhynchus paradoxus) and bull frog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus). Nara Canal Wetlands Area is an important wintering area for several species of Anatids, Ardeids, Rallids and shorebirds. The area fulfills certain criteria of Important Bird Area and wetland of international importance. The waterfowl count data collected during 1988-2009 showed fluctuation and great variation. We hypothesized that the complex hosts at least 20,000 waterfowls regularly and if uniform data collection methods are used then waterfowl counts taken during different times represent the same population with no difference in the medians and mean ranks. The Kruskal-Wallis test showed that the medians and mean ranks of waterfowl counts differ significantly (P<0.005) during 1988-2004 and whereas the difference was non-significant (P>0.005) for our data collected during 2006-2009. For effective management and better conservation, it is suggested that the complex be nominated for its inclusion in the list of wetlands of international importance.
Key words: Ramsar Site, Important Bird Area, Endemic Species, Restricted-range Species, Threatened Wildlife, Utilitarian Value, Indus Ecoregion.